Wendy Stokes Edge of Blue
Multiplate Woodblock and direct transfer relief print, unique state 330 x 112cm each panel.
How does your work address the theme ‘to the edges’?
The theme for my work is best placed in the context of my practice and the very nature of the landscapes that inform it. For over 5 decades I have inhabited and walked in coastal landscapes; a fluid geography, where edges constantly shift and boundaries blend. Experiences too, both past and present dissolve the edges between time and place.
Can you describe the technical process you went through to achieve the finished work and what technical challenges you encountered along the way?
I generally work between the practices of painting, drawing and printmaking but in this work I wanted to experiment and push the scale of my printmaking into that of my painting. It was important though to retain the integrity and structure of relief printmaking particularly that of wood and utilise found wood washed up on the shore. Rather than the more conventional approach of creating a singular image on a block the size of the work, I carved many blocks reflective of notations from my drawing practice executed within the landscape. These were inked and individually placed on an extended table and the paper rolled out over a section then pressure applied with various objects and barens in a gestural manner. The process was repeated for the various colours and for each panel. The challenge lay in the size and length of the ricepaper, requiring it to be rolled and unrolled in sections as it progressed the length of the work and being unable to see the actual result until it was rerolled and turned over and unrolled again. The process needed to be repeated on all 3 panels. The work was preplanned technically, yet needed to be open to adaptation while the image evolved as one would be creating a painting.
What do you see as the role of Sydney Printmakers for the next 60 years?
To continue to work collegially in the pursuit of excellence, allowing each member to express their individuality while expanding the boundaries of the printmaking medium. Collectively this can make a valuable contribution.
How do you see the role of printmaking, in general, contributing to the conversation about contemporary art practice?
I have tended to believe that one’s concepts and aesthetics drive your practice rather than being tied to a singular medium. Printmaking itself offers up many opportunities for exploration within the medium and the work needs to be able to hold its own regardless of the technologies explored, traditional or the most up to date digital or 3d explorations.